News Roundup

Pardon the brevity of this week’s roundup. I’m at a conference today and my blogging capacity is limited. But there were several important and interesting stories this week:

1. Prosecutors are asking the Governor to end the prison system’s policy of allowing certain well-behaved inmates have home visits as they near the end of their sentences. Jamie explained the program here. Some Republican legislators have taken up the prosecutors’ call but so far the administration has defended the value of the program. The News and Observer reports here.

2. The first Moral Monday protestors appeared in court in Wake County this week. They were represented by NCCU law professor Irving Joyner, who said he plans to raise constitutional defenses. Their cases were continued to a planned trial date in September. Again, the News and Observer has the story here.

3. NC Policy Watch recently published this piece addressing the work of the state supreme court. The gist of the piece is that the court is hearing very few cases and the justices are writing very few opinions. By contrast, the court of appeals is crushed with work.

4. The George Zimmerman trial started this week, and former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder, but to me, the most interesting celebrity criminal justice news was the conviction of Italian billionaire and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for having sex with an underage prostitute. About time, as far as I can tell. But the wheels of Italian justice turn slowly, and his prison sentence will not begin until multiple appeals have been heard, if then. Time magazine reports here.

5. The Supreme Court was pretty busy this week with the same-sex marriage cases. But it also granted certiorari in a child pornography restitution case, as Sentencing Law and Policy discusses here. And Justice Alito told a group of Texas lawyers that oral argument is a “contact sport” and that “[t]rying to get in a question at oral argument is really like trying to grab an item that’s on sale at Walmart the day after Thanksgiving.”

6. Finally, call it karma or irony or turnabout being fair play, this local crime report notes that “a juvenile subject grabbed an iPhone from a store employee and fled the scene on foot. Police located the subject a short distance away bleeding from the left eye after he was robbed of the phone he stole.”

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